Word Study
Arlen L. Chitwood



You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.  (Matthew 16:16)


The disciples, as evidenced by Peter’s confession, believed that Jesus was the Christ (v. 16); but the masses in Israel believed otherwise (vv. 13, 14).”


The word “Christ” (or “Messiah,” as translated from the Hebrew text) means Anointed One.In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed; and the complete ministry of Christ (past, present, and future) encompasses all three of these offices.

As Prophet (past), “Christ died for our sins”; as Priest (present), “He ever lives to make intercession” for us; and as King (future), “He shall reign forever and ever” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 7:25; Revelation 11:15).


Insofar as Peter himself was concerned, his confession really involved only the latter, the kingly office, rather than all three.  The disciples at this time did not grasp the fact that the Cross and the present dispensation (in which Christ would exercise the office of Priest) would precede the kingdom (vv. 21-23; cf.17:3, 4, 22, 23; 20:17-19; Luke 9:30, 31).


Peter acknowledged Jesus as Gods Son immediately following his acknowledgment of Jesus as “the Christ.”  “Sonship” implies rulership,and this is exactly what Peter had in mind (cf. Exodus 4:22, 23; 19:5, 6; 2 Samuel 7:12-14).  It was simply recognition by an additional means of that which he had already stated.


In reality though, an acknowledgment of Jesus as “the Christ,” Gods Son,must involve His complete, threefold office — Prophet, Priest, and King.  And this was something that Peter did not understand at this time, as shown by his further remarks.


Christ’s future ministry as King,within the Scriptural framework in which it is set forth, cannot exist apart from two things:


1)      A finished work in His past ministry as Prophet.

2)      A continuing work (to be completed in the future) in His present ministry as Priest.


This is the primary reason for Christ’s severe rebuke of Peter in Matthew 16:23.  Peter, in verse twenty-two, unknowingly denied to Christ that which he had previously attributed to Christ in verse sixteen (cf.Matthew 26:63, 64).


Note Christ’s words in this respect to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, following His resurrection:


O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? (Luke 24:25b, 26).


“Suffering” must precede “glory.”  And apart from the former, the latter cannot occur.  This is an established biblical principle that cannot change (cf. Genesis 37:23-36 and 45:1-15; Exodus 2:11-15 and 40:33-38; Job 2:6-8 and 40:12-17; Psalm 137:1-9; 1 Peter 1:11; 2:21; 5:1).


(Taken from Salvation of the Soul, Chapter 2)